Five Things B2B Marketers Can Learn from This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials
The Super Bowl may be the biggest football event of the year, but it’s also the backdrop for advertising’s biggest day of the year as brands compete with each other to be the most memorable, dramatic and buzz-worthy.
With 100 million people tuning in, it is mostly large consumer brands that can justify the $4 million price tag, but that doesn’t mean B2B brands can’t learn a great deal while enjoying the show. Here are five things B2B brands can learn from the participants in this year’s Brand Bowl.
Build buzz with teasers
Intuit did a great job of building buzz starting all the way back in July with the launch of the small business competition that gives one well-deserving small business a professionally produced commercial aired during the Super Bowl.
The competition started with thousands of entries and whittled down to one lucky winner, GoldieBlox. Each step of the way was an opportunity for Intuit to generate buzz. I saw posts in my Facebook feed for months about voting for my favorite small business and this made me all the more excited to hear that GoldieBox had won.
Then they released a teaser commercial with a band of girls running to the theme from 2001 Space Odyssey, which built more buzz before the full spot was finally revealed during the third quarter of the game.
B2B brands can build buzz for their own businesses with short video content that entices their audience to view the longer form content.
Humanize your brand with shared experiences
Heinz reminded us of the shared experience of pounding the bottom of a glass ketchup bottle to flavor a meal with tomato-y goodness in their first Super Bowl ad in 16 years.
The product gets featured over and over again as the sound of hands tapping on the bottom of a glass ketchup bottle to get ketchup out is used to fill in part of the song, “If you’re happy and you know it…”
It even includes a fart joke with a fart sound coming out of a plastic Heinz bottle as a nice old grandma squeezes it—a joke many people can probably relate to. The message is clear and emotionally charged, putting the Heinz product at the center of people coming together.
B2B brands can win too when they think through the shared experiences of their customers and create stories that highlight them.
Captivate your audience with innovative case studies
Bud Light captured one Bud Light drinker’s amazing night out in a 3:44 minute piece that gets us to think anything is possible when we drink Bud Light. The ad is aptly summarized at the end of the spot by the following:
You somehow find yourself in a limo with Reggie Watts and some bachelorettes, and then get styled by Minka Kelly, before Don Cheadle, a llama named Lilly, and the identical twin of the girl you just met take you to a party, where you defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger in a sudden-death ping pong match, that puts you onstage with OneRepublic.
It’s sufficiently ridiculous, but amazingly aligned with their brand with the message, “The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens.” The point, though, is that they deliver and capture a great customer experience and also welcome people to think this could happen to them by starring a non-actor.
B2B companies, too, can give their customers exceptionally good experiences, then tell those stories and get more people excited to be a part of the next chapter.
Release content in a timely manner
Rather than spend $4 million on a Super Bowl commercial aired after people have pretty much made all of their purchasing decisions for their Super Bowl parties, Newcastle Brown Ale released a spot a couple weeks before the big day.
The crux of the commercial is that this is not a Super Bowl commercial with Anna Kendrick complaining about not getting to star a Super Bowl ad and every mention of the Super Bowl getting bleeped over.
The takeaway for B2B marketers is to release content when it matters. This could be in conjunction with an event or just keeping up a consistent cadence, but the key is to reach your audience when they are in research mode before they have purchased all of their beer for the party.
You don’t always have to pay top dollar to play with the big spenders. Tide proved that you can successfully generate buzz without paying for a Super Bowl commercial by tweeting throughout the big game with timely tweets and vine videos that responded to the commercials aired by other brands.
Their tweets stayed on message with #GetsItOut, which they’ve used in the past, capitalizing on past investments and staying relevant. It’s a good reminder to B2B marketers that being creative doesn’t necessarily mean spending lots of money. And there are lots of tools out there, BrightTALK included, to help marketers understand the return on investment of their marketing spend and grow their revenue.
Super Bowl commercials may be B2C’s playing field, but they can certainly serve as inspiration for B2B companies that are looking to create innovative marketing campaigns. Take a page from the B2C marketer’s playbook and don’t be afraid to take a risk and inspire real emotion in your audience.